Port Harcourt — The people of Ogoni have demanded an apology from the Nigerian Petroleum Development Company, NPDC, over what they described as a deliberate attempt to undermine the Ogoni struggle.
This comes following an advertisement placed by NPDC calling for tender of bids for OML 11, which President Muhammadu Buhari, recently directed NNPC and NPDC, to take over its operatorship from the Shell Petroleum Development Company, SPDC, and ensure a smooth re-entry.
But a group known as Conscience of Ogoni People, COOP, said NPDC by that advertisement was out to cause more trouble in Ogoniland.
COOP which was formerly known as Ken Saro-Wiwa Associates said because Shell is officially out of Ogoni, does not mean any other firm would move into the Ogoni oilfield without a broad-based discussion between the Federal Government and the people.
The leader of the group, Chief Gani Topba, explained that any company that tenders an application for the Ogoni oil bloc is an enemy of the people and will be resisted.
“President Muhammadu Buhari has done well by not renewing Shell’s license in OML11, as requested by the Ogoni people, so as to open the door for the people of Ogoni and the Federal Government to discuss.
“Now, immediately the President gave that order, NPDC went and placed advertisement calling for tender of bids for OML11. NPDC is out to cause problems in Ogoni. This same NPDC had in 2016 issued a preliminary approval to RoboMichael. This same NPDC is a technical partner to Shell and is always out to cause problems un Ogoni.
“It doesn’t mean that because Shell is out of Ogoni, any other company can walk in. There are liabilities and issues that made Ogoni drive Shell out of their land, so these issues must be addressed by the Federal government before anything.”
Gani Topba emphasized that before advertisement for tender of bids for the Ogoni oil bloc, there must be a broad-based discussion between the Federal Government and the stakeholders in Ogoni, to address the underlying Ogoni issues.
He commended President Muhammadu Buhari for not renewing Shell’s license in Ogoni and expressed confidence that the President will give justice to the Ogoni people, by listening to their demands.
“There must be a broad-based engagement with the people of Ogoni, what NPDC did is a total undermining of the Ogoni struggle and we demand that NPDC should apologize to Ogoni people and cancel that process, because any firm who bids for OML11 will not have access to Ogoniland, and will be seen as an enemy of Ogoni.
“We have done a formal petition to the Federal Government and we believe President Muhammadu Buhari will do the right thing because he has done the right thing by withdrawing the operatorship license of Shell, he has taken the first right step. Why should we not trust him now, when has listened to our demands?”